Read Two Google Ads and Call Me in the Morning

September 10, 2019

We know Google has been branching out every which way it can, largely through divisions like X Lab, Sidewalk Labs, Jigsaw, and Deep Mind, among others. Now Health Impact News reports that “Google Joins the Pharmaceutical Industry” through its healthcare divisions Verily Life Sciences and Calico Labs. Writer Kate Raines seems suspicious of Google’s motives and its ties to “Big Pharma.” She describes some projects that Verily is working on with partners in the pharmaceutical industry. (That company started out pursuing miniaturization tech and machine learning for projects like smart lenses.) What we find interesting here is Google’s heavy push into the healthcare arena—are they chasing Amazon?

We learn:

“Verily now partners with a number of pharmaceutical companies that develop vaccines on projects ranging from smart lenses with Alcon (a subsidiary of Novartis) and surgical robotics with Johnson & Johnson to early identification and intervention in chronic diseases with Merck Sharp & Dohme and diabetes management with Sanofi. Verily is partnered with Gilead on profiling the immune system to clarify the biological mechanisms of autoimmune disease and with Verve Therapeutics on nanoparticle formulations. Verily is also partnered with GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, in the development of bioelectronic medicine. With the creation of Galvani Bioelectronics in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, Verily now has its own pharmaceutical company that is working to ‘enable the research, development and commercialization of bioelectronic medicines,’ which aim to treat disease using miniaturized implanted devices. Another of Verily’s projects is the development of the ‘sterile insect technique’ to manipulate mosquito populations by releasing sterile male mosquitoes that will reduce the populations of insects carrying such diseases as dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.

The company has also entered the clinical study arena, first with its own study called Baseline, which seeks to connect potential study participants with clinical research groups.”

That is indeed a lot of cooperation; whether that is a good or a bad thing we leave our gentle readers to decide. Raines spends less time describing Calico, which is focused on increasing the human lifespan. It was established by the former CEO of vaccine developer Genentech and now employs a Head of Drug Development who was once a VP at vaccine developer Amgen. Very suspicious.

Raines concludes by noting that Google’s search algorithm specifically makes it difficult to find certain information about vaccines that runs afoul of the “government and pharmaceutical industry.” I think others call that addressing the scourge of fake news, specifically anti-vaxer propaganda in this case.

Cynthia Murrell, September 10, 2019

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